Mudcat Café message #3212530 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55961   Message #3212530
Posted By: Fred McCormick
25-Aug-11 - 11:32 AM
Thread Name: Loomis House Press - Child Ballads New Edition
Subject: RE: Loomis House Press - Child Ballads New Edition
Guest. Child included a section which he called few "Ballad Airs From Manuscript". Otherwise, the texts are printed entirely without music, or any indication as to what tunes they should be sung to. This may seem odd today, but it was standard practice in Child's time to regard ballads purely as oral poems.

To complicate matters, Child includes 305 seperate ballads, plus variants. Tunes have only been collected for about a third of these. It is this third which Bronson assembled into The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads, in as many variants as he could muster. In other words both publications are invaluable and neither renders the other redundant.

BTW. I would guess from what you say that you are fairly new to balladry. If so I would strongly recommend that you listen to as many recordings of traditional singers singing ballads as you can lay your hands on.

For starters, I couldn't recommend anything better than the wonderful Scottish Tradition; The Muckle Sangs: Classic Scottish Ballads CD on Greentrax'. Cost about 11-00, but there are 2nd hand copies on Amazon UK for about half that.

Then again, Topic's Voice of the People series has two CDs devoted to balladry.

Also, if they're still available, there are two discs of ballads in the Caedmon/Rounder series, The Folksongs of Britain.

For revival approaches to balladry, Topic and Fellside have both recently reissued archive material of Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd.

For MacColl see Ballads-Murder-Intrigue-Love-Discord on Topic. For Lloyd, see Bramble Briars & Beams of the Sun-Traditional English Ballads on Fellside.

Also, Fellside have also reissued a 3 LP set of the North Georgia, USA singer, Hedy West under the title Ballads and Songs from the Appalachians. This is not entirely made up of ballads, although there's a lot in there, but for sheer heart stopping singing, I don't believe there's anything to touch them.

On a similar note, there's a lot of records of traditional singers which aren't restricted to balladry. EG., Sheila Stewart, From the Heart of the Tradition (Topic), or The Stewarts of Blair; Alex, Belle, Cathie and Sheila (still available on Ossian, I think). These are very well worth investigating, and not just for the ballads.